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Possible improvements to LSL/CL Dining

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24 minutes ago, pennyk said:

The desserts have changed but the menu has not.  I do not eat cheesecake, but I think they had it when I traveled in December.

I am with you.   If there is one think you should not make cake out of and that is cheese. ;)    Chocolate is the way to go! :D

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25 minutes ago, VTTrain said:

I’ve never understood cheesecake.  Keep your cheese out of my dessert.  

I actually hate cream cheese, but I LOVE cheesecake. Get one from (the original) Junior's, and you will know exactly what I'm talking about.

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Even though I am a native of Brooklyn, I will have to say, that I prefer the taste of the Cheesecake Factory cake...and you can buy a frozen,12  pre-sliced cake at Costco, for about the price of two slices served at one of the Cheesecake Factory restaurant...:cool:

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4 hours ago, cpotisch said:

The menu still says they have it. Something make you think otherwise?

What made me think otherwise on the eastbound CL on Dec. 24 was the fact that the box contained a brownie and no cheesecake.

What made me think otherwise on the westbound CL on Dec. 31 was the fact that the box contained a brownie and no cheesecake. :)

 

 

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On 1/6/2019 at 1:03 PM, Skyline said:

Actually, I suggested in an earlier post that it should need THREE employees to properly staff a diner/kitchen with a cafeteria scenario.

 

Upon re-reading the post you responded to, I can see how you took that more literally than I intended. My bad. It was actually meant to be a bit sarcastic.

And you could probably reduce this to two "dedicated" employees with the third being sourced from the sleepers on a rotation of some sort (as is often the case now).  That would only require a net add of one employee, probably acceptable.

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Along those lines my sleeper attendant on the Eagle last week was helping out in the diner serving meals. Not taking orders but she was serving tables when the food came out. Not the whole time but here and there.

Both the SSL and Eagle only had two people upstairs in the diner. One LSA,  one server. Holiday crowds as well and service was fine.

The SWC had three total but the third person got on with us at Galesburg. His schedule that trip was LAX to GBB, layover 12:30pm to 5:10pm (no hotel) then back GBB to LAX. I should have asked if it was a one off or an actual schedule. 

I’ve noticed two seems to be the new norm the past year. So there’s already efficiencies being made.

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On 1/6/2019 at 10:42 AM, Triley said:

If it's any sort of meal service where someone has to deliver food to a table multiple times, absolutely not. Especially if they also have to cook the food as well.

I'm guessing you've never waited tables before? I was really pushing my SA to her limit (my second server had to mark off and returned home), and was having her handle 4 tables per seating, that's 16 people at a time. And including getting to the tables, getting drink/salad orders, getting the food orders, and sending them to the kitchen, we are typically taking 30-45 minutes to get all the food orders out to our patrons. Keep in mind, if the first seating is at 5, the next is 5:30 (and we give seatings an hour and 45 minutes to finish, and give us time to get the table reset), so now you've got new patrons coming in while you're still trying to finish up on the first batch of orders.

There is absolutely no way that one person could handle 36 patrons at a time, especially with cooking the food. Not unless literally everything else is self service, which it can't be since one alcoholic drink is currently included in the sleeper lounges.

Actually on the Cardinal one FSA takes the orders, heats them, serves, and cleans up for that many patrons in one or two sleepers.  Fortunately on that route not every passengers travels from end to end and from what we have seen, the SCA has chipped in to help out.  I am not for overworking people, and totally against the layouts of long time FSA's, just trying to support their families. Just saying that in the modern day scenario of Amtrak cuts this scenario is possible and perhaps likely to be implemented on all routes system wide. The other possibility is that Amtrak could hire a private catering service to take over the dining cars. This was done years back by the Santa Fe railroad with the Fred Harvey Company.  The old menu looked pretty decent and the railroad had a section(Turquoise Room) for fine upscale dining as well. Here is a glimpse back in time to what is was like:

RR Dining back in the day

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Quote

 

I would hope that terms of the CBA would preclude outsourcing an existing service.

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On 12/27/2018 at 9:55 PM, OBS said:

Just came back from Chicago on #48 in a sleeper, and the Sleeper Lounge LSA, which is now a Chicago based job, was telling another passenger of pending improvements based on a test run she did a few weeks ago. The tentative rollout is Jan. 16. It will include 4 or 5 hot entrees for (presumably) Dinner. Also Breakfast will be served as an ALA Carte buffet style set up on one of the tables for passengers to help themselves. It will include hard boiled eggs, and a Hot Breakfast sandwich will also be offered...This is all I know (overheard)...... 

I will be on 48 out if Chicago on 1/18/19 in a roomette.  So I will be happy to give a report of my experience.  

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13 minutes ago, Steve4031 said:

I will be on 48 out if Chicago on 1/18/19 in a roomette.  So I will be happy to give a report of my experience.  

Please do!

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I had this delicious bacon and egg sandwich from Starbucks at work yesterday.  The principal asked a few teachers to come in early for a workshop.  She ordered these sandwiches from Starbucks.  I was skeptical until she said bacon and egg.  The dang thing was pretty good and I would have eaten two if they weren’t watching.  This would be a huge improvement over those stupid muffins. 

EA380BEF-6DFD-4F78-8BEB-C9C3C44D8FB7.jpeg

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Amtrak must be saving too much money on the "new" dining to ever restore full dinner service (although it may be losing some customer satisfaction).

Under the "new" system, the SCA takes your order, and a sole attendant in the "dining" car assembles the boxes; then the passenger goes and picks up the meal.

Shazzam--no chefs, no waiters, no leads in the dining car; all replaced by the the sole box assembler. The savings for Amtrak on "food services" are great.

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On 1/7/2019 at 11:28 PM, Manny T said:

What made me think otherwise on the eastbound CL on Dec. 24 was the fact that the box contained a brownie and no cheesecake.

What made me think otherwise on the westbound CL on Dec. 31 was the fact that the box contained a brownie and no cheesecake. :)

I agree with you, Manny T.

Based on the Capitol Limited trip I took on November 13, 2018 (westbound) and November 15, 2018 (eastbound), there were no cheesecakes for dessert in any of the dinner box selections. Instead the dessert that was offered in the entrée boxes was the Toffee Crunch Non-GMO Manifesto Blondie.

20181113_174401.jpg

20181113_174418.jpg

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I’ve tried to be open minded about the changes, but the pictures aren’t inspiring me.  

I’m looking forward to a report on the changes next week.   

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Just rode the CL back east today.  Breakfast boxes are so...disappointing for me.  I have a fairly sensitive stomach in the morning and the fruit can make it cranky.  The muffins are dry and frankly not all that good. The yogurt is fine and a good place for me to start.  I usually hold the Kashi bar til later.   I miss things like eggs or french toast.  

For lunch/dinner, vegetarian options are...very lackluster in the boxes.  With the sitdown menu, there were typically two or three fairly nice things to choose from for us, now it's a rather lame wrap that isn't all that good, which is an unfortunate tendency with roast veggie wraps, they tend to roast all the flavor out into a mush then cool them, the resulting fluids end up mushing the wrap and...ew.  Also, they collapse vegetarian and vegan options into one vegan option, which leaves the egg and cheese loving folk like me without.  They could do a MUCH better job going with a Mediterranean style vegan meal if they wanted featuring hummus, olives, breads, etc. Even with a separated section of feta cheese that could be left sealed for those who don't want it.  A 'build your own hummus wrap' sort of thing.  Or a Garden Salad with options for egg and cheese wouldn't be too hard to put together either I would think. 

But they went with "just make some lame wrap for THOSE people" cooking.   I went coach for the trip West and carried on my own meal this time in part because it simply didn't seem worth using the points on the room going West if I was going to get a blah mean or pay for my own anyway.

I'm uncertain where (or if it's worth it) to provide this feedback to Amtrak...

Edited by KVG_DC

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2 minutes ago, KVG_DC said:

Just rode the CL back east today.  Breakfast boxes are so...disappointing for me.  I have a fairly sensitive stomach in the morning and the fruit can make it cranky.  The muffins are dry and frankly not all that good. The yogurt is fine and a good place for me to start.  I usually hold the Kashi bar til later.   I miss things like eggs or french toast.  

For lunch/dinner, vegetarian options are...very lackluster in the boxes.  With the sitdown menu, there were typically two or three fairly nice things to choose from for us, now it's a rather lame wrap that isn't all that good, which is an unfortunate tendency with roast veggie wraps, they tend to roast all the flavor out into a mush then cool them, the resulting fluids end up mushing the wrap and...ew.  Also, they collapse vegetarian and vegan options into one vegan option, which leaves the egg and cheese loving folk like me without.  They could do a MUCH better job going with a Mediterranean style vegan meal if they wanted featuring hummus, olives, breads, etc. Even with a separated section of feta cheese that could be left sealed for those who don't want it.  A 'build your own hummus wrap' sort of thing.  Or a Garden Salad with options for egg and cheese wouldn't be too hard to put together either I would think. 

But they went with "just make some lame wrap for THOSE people" cooking.   I went coach for the trip West and carried on my own meal this time in part because it simply didn't seem worth using the points on the room going West if I was going to get a blah mean or pay for my own anyway.

I'm uncertain where (or if it's worth it) to provide this feedback to Amtrak...

This is exactly what I've been complaining about all along! There is one breakfast choice altogether, and one vegetarian/vegan choice for lunch and dinner, which means that those of us who can't eat meat have no choice but to get the breakfast box and the wrap. There isn't even a single hot option I can eat! :(

It wouldn't be hard to just add the veggie burger as an option. They could put it together in advance andjust  throw it on the stove or in the microwave for a minute before serving. They could even offer a voucher system where sleeper passengers could get a complimentary meal from the lounge car instead, since they've recently improved those offerings.

But no, my breakfast has to be a cold box of sugar and carbs, and my lunch or dinner has to a cold mushy wrap. :angry: 

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I'm uncertain where (or if it's worth it) to provide this feedback to Amtrak...

If the rumblings/rumors are true some big changes are coming (read opening posts.)

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After riding both the lakeshore limited and Capitol limited I sent an email with my reservation numbers from both trips telling them I was done with these trains until positive changes were made.  

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4 hours ago, Steve4031 said:

After riding both the lakeshore limited and Capitol limited I sent an email with my reservation numbers from both trips telling them I was done with these trains until positive changes were made.  

Too bad you're not riding next week. A new menu with a few changes and additions have appeared so keep an eye on the website. I'm kind of surprised they didn't blurt out a giant release.  I'm sure those with "undercover sources" will post the scoop soon. It's in the "usual" place. :ph34r: 

 

PS: What happened to the coloring book? I hope this is a misprint and it was left out by mistake!!! :wacko:

Edited by Thirdrail7

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